Accurate and Quick Surveying: LiDAR Use at Anderson

Have you ever wondered about the purpose of that big “camera” used by men in bright vests and hardhats?


In the above picture, an engineer from Anderson is surveying land for future engineering needs. These, “needs” could include anything from the construction of a new road to the installation of a culvert. This surveying device on a tripod is known as a “LiDAR scanner.” A LiDAR scanner (this particular model is made by Leica) is essentially a huge camera that uses a laser and high-quality camera lens to capture an image in front of it—as well as all-around it. LiDAR—Light Detection and Ranging—can help provide engineers with the data they need to convert a “picture” into a 3D-model that can then be manipulated with CAD (computer-aided design) software.

There are many benefits to using LiDAR. These benefits include:

  • Producing both 2D and 3D deliverables
  • Helping ensure accurate pipe fitting, slices, tie-ins, and clash checks
  • Collecting data more quickly
  • Reducing the need to visit the site repeatedly
  • Providing speedier project results
  • Producingmore building services that are low cost.
  • Creating digital photos for better realism in terms of site projection
  • LiDAR can even improve site safety by minimizing manual measurement practices!

LiDAR mapping works by producing a “cloud” of X, Y, Z point data from a 270˚ rotating mirror, coupled with 360˚ movement from the camera. After thousands of tiny, horizontal movements (the process can take days), millions of dots are transferred from the LiDAR device to computer software, where the scan can then be manipulated as needed by the engineer.

The applications of LiDAR software are varied. For example, in the transportation sector, LiDAR allows engineers to take 360˚ scans of the intersection without interrupting traffic. It can also be used in the inspection of roadways and bridges. LiDAR can be used in the public works sector to help visualize critical infrastructure and completely reveal the implications of planned changes. Outside of engineering, attorneys can use LiDAR to help with accident investigations; the police can even use it in crime scene forensics.

Anderson can use LiDAR technology to lessen the cost and burden of your next project. For more information about our use of LiDAR technology, or to request a bid, call us today!